By Jamie Ludwiggreen-IIWEB

Steve and Scott Dingle are brothers who grew up working in the construction industry.  After graduating from college and attaining their general contractors licenses in Florida, the two opened SRD Building Corporation in 1991.  Since then, the brothers have discovered their niche, building high-end custom homes as well as doing speculatory work.  Presently, the overwhelming majority of their work consists of 5,500-to 12,000-square-foot luxury homes located in the Royal Palm Yacht Club, an enclosed community of 750 homes in the thriving community of Boca Raton, FL.  Scott says, “Making quality our first commitment has made it much easier to build a solid reputation in the private community we work in.”  He estimates that the company builds five to seven homes a year and that about half of them are customs and half are spec homes.

SRD Building Corporation’s latest pride and joy is in planning for its first LEED-certified spec home.  Steve says, “We’ve been doing the LEED planning, meetings, design, and paperwork for a couple of months now, and we plan on breaking ground within the next few weeks.  Not only are we having it LEED certified, but we’re having a number of other certifications under the Crystal Quality Built umbrella, including Energy Star, Fortified…For Safer Living, Florida Green Home, and Florida Water Star.  We are excited about all the certifications but most proud of the quality that this home is going to be built at in every level.”

Scott adds, “We feel that we’re the custom homebuilding leader in our community, and one of the things in staying a leader is that we wanted to be the first one to build a USGBC LEED-certified home.  It was the next step for our company and we have a passion for it.”

The Dingle brothers have strived to be ecologically responsible in their building practices for several years.  As they learned more about green building practices, Steve says they realized, “Much of it we’re doing anyhow with high-quality building techniques and materials such as high-performance air conditioners.”  The two became part of the USGBC just over a year ago.

The brothers agree that although certifications are nice to have, they are not their main focus.  Steve says, “We’re open to the market and where that lets us go.  Certifications are one thing and they are great, but the green practices are the most important thing to us, whether they are certified or not.”  This means SRD Building staying on the cutting edge of new technology and building practices in order to build ecologically smart homes, and also to provide the best possible experience for its clients.  Steve says, “We are constantly learning.  Since we’ve gone into the certification process, we’ve learned a lot more about green building practices.”

SRD Building also prides itself on its superior customer service.  Scott explains, “We try to get a sense of what they want in their homes – how they want their home to feel.  We provide the experiences we have with the construction quality and green practices we’ve learned over the years.  We’re very customer-service oriented after the completion of the home; we stay involved with customers after they’re out of the warranty.  [We handle] anything they need or want from us, and that has resulted in many long-term relationships.”

Scott comments that Florida’s geography and climate can factor heavily into the design process.  “The windows, for instance, since we have a different geography, have to meet hurricane requirements,” he says.  “That makes it tough to have insulated windows, so we have to find materials to offset that.  We have humidity in our climate; the way we insulate our homes is different that in the dry climate.”

And perhaps even more crucial is the matter of water conservation.  “We’re constantly in a water drought,” Scott says.  “It’s constantly an issue.  Low-volume showerheads and toilets come into play, and additional Florida requirements such as using native plants that live in our climate without extra water can make a difference.  We can use reclaimed water for irrigation rather than new water on our sites”.

Always eager to stay up to date with current technologies, SRD Building encourages and supports its seven employees to learn about green building practices.  Steve says, “We’re excited about building this first home that has these green certifications, but we’re even more excited about some of the things we’re leaning.  [We’re learning] about building a more efficient home – one that is more about conservation of materials – and being more of an environmental steward of what we’ve been given.” GBQ